Charlie Strong to Stay at Louisville, Says No to Tennessee
Charlie Strong has apparently turned down an offer from the University of Tennessee and will remain the head football coach at the University of Louisville. Strong has also renegotiated his contract with Louisville Wednesday evening, according to Pete Thamel of SI.com.
Strong had been linked to several head coaching positions including Tennessee, Auburn and Arkansas. Last year he was rumored to be one of the frontrunners for the Texas A&M job.
In a Monday press conference, which was supposed to be about Louisville making it to the Sugar Bowl, Charlie Strong was asked several times about coaching rumors, but Strong refused to answer the questions directly.
When asked by a reporter if he would be coaching at the University of Louisville next year, Strong responded, “I will say that at the right time.”
Louisville fans were left to wait once again as rumors about Strong continued to grow.
Louisville's athletic director, Tom Jurich, has said for a while that he would do what ever he could to keep Charlie Strong at Louisville.
Jurich told Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com:
I will match anybody's salary. I will match anybody in college. I will be supportive of whoever's here. Do they want to be here? When someone is being talked about, that's a complement to our program. I've had it where you have coaches, and they're not talked about.
Late Tuesday night, Pat Forde of Yahoo.com reported that Louisville was confident that Charlie Strong would remain their head coach.
One source told Forde, "Unless he's the greatest poker player of all time, I don't think he’s going anywhere."
Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com reported on Wednesday that Louisville was working on extending Strong's contract.
Strong was making around three million dollars a year. His new contract will be longer and significantly larger then before.
Louisville picked up Charlie Strong three years ago after failing to have a successful season under Steve Kragthorpe. Strong has turned the program into a very successful one that will go to its first Sugar Bowl in school history on January 2 against the Florida Gators.
Strong has also brought in amazing talent like quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who will be one of the frontrunners for the Heisman Trophy next season.
With Louisville heading to the ACC in 2014, Charlie Strong will have plenty of opportunity to play in front of a national audience and pick up some more elite prospects.
Louisville fans should give Charlie Strong a lot of credit; to turn down big opportunities like Tennessee and Texas A&M in order to continue to grow the Louisville program shows a lot of character and dedication regardless on how much money he will be making.
As the conference realignment turns and jobs continue to open, the question will be how much longer will Louisville be able to compete with deeper pockets for Strong's services.
But once again, if Strong is willing to say no to big SEC schools, then perhaps he is in it for the long haul. Only time will tell.
Jon Hancock is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
You can follow Jon on Twitter @JonKYSportsCo
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